New York City is ending the COVID vaccine mandate for public-sector workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers, this week. The move ends what was one of the strictest workplace vaccination rules during the pandemic, as the Associated Press reported.
The vaccine mandate, which led to the firing of hundreds of city workers who declined to get the shots, will end Friday, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday. Adams, a Democrat, said that with more than 96% of city employees and more than 80% of city residents having received their initial vaccine series, “this is the right moment for this decision.” City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan agreed. “It’s clear these mandates saved lives and were absolutely necessary to meet the moment. We’re grateful that we can now, as we leave the emergency phase of the pandemic, modify more of the rules that have gotten us to this point,” he said. The vaccination mandate for city employees was one of the last COVID-19 measures still in place in New York City. The city ended its vaccine requirement for employees of private businesses in November 2022, and masks are now optional in most public spaces, including subways and buses.